By Mark Gokavi, Staff Writer 12:05 AM Sunday, November 20, 2011
BEAVERCREEK — About 500 families got a knock on the door Saturday morning and received a free Thanksgiving dinner.
The Vineyard Church of Dayton and Beavercreek packed and delivered that many meals to families in Fairborn, Xenia, Huber Heights and Centerville as part of their “Turkeys Giving Away Turkeys” initiative.
Organizer Steve Bowen said nearly hundreds of volunteers put together packages including a frozen turkey, corn, green beans, yams, cranberry sauce, potatoes, macaroni and cheese, stuffing, rolls and more.
“To see the look on somebody’s face when you show up with a complete dinner and they didn’t know where their food was going to come from, it’s hard to believe,” said Scott Sliver, one of the pastors at The Vineyard.
The Vineyard also delivered regular groceries to families in need in Huber Heights, which is a program they help other groups with each month.
“The face of the poor is changing around town,” Sliver said. “It’s really hit the middle class pretty hard.”
We had a blast serving those in need by giving away the 550 turkey dinners. Stories are now coming in where people were surprised, encouraged and in some cases moved to tears. God space was created by a simple act of kindness which led to listening, dialogue and then genuine care expressed by hugs and prayer.
- One mom and daughter had just moved in the day before they were going out the door to sell some items to enable them to purchase needed items for Thanksgiving day. They were more than surprised when they saw the dinner offered for free.
- One of our team members was so moved by what he saw in one apartment that it caused him to run back to the truck to pick up a boxed dinner for a lady who only had icecubes in her fridge. He spent a lot of time caring for her by listening to her story.
- Another family had just delivered their turkey and went back to the truck to grab a dinner for another person in need. When they arrived there were no more dinners, so they responded by going to Kroger and purchasing a full dinner for a grateful family.
Several families who went were not aware that there were people in such need within their community. They were surprised, glad they could help, and at the same time upset by what they saw. They also came away from their experience personally grateful and thankful.
I often pose the question, How can you know, unless you go? Answer, you can’t.
Going, seeing, serving and praying for others is really the only way to receive a personal ah-ha moment. These moments often are the catalyst that sparks personal involvement, lifestyle change and thankful gratitude.
Someone asked me, How do you do this week in and week out. It must affect you? I answer, Jesus said the poor you will have with you always, so I understand whatever I do in a small way, or in a great way, is good enough. I can’t possibly meet every need, but I can meet and pray for some. Going also keeps me grounded and personally grateful for all I have received… like the ability to pay my bills, to have heat, to have running water, to have clothing, to have a family that is somewhat normal, and to have some great relationships.
How do you learn to serve? By serving.
How to you learn to love? By loving.
How do you learn to care? By going and seeing with your heart.
How do you learn to pray? By praying.
What we do is not rocket science by any means, it’s just faith that works through love.